By Moses Adeniyi
The reconstruction of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway will commence any-time soon following the release of fund, information reaching Nigerian NewsDirect has revealed.
According to sources close to Nigerian NewsDirect, from the Federal and the Lagos State Authorities, the reconstruction of the bad road which has been a source of panic and worry to commuters in Lagos and Ogun States will commence soon.
Confirming the development, the Federal Controller on Works, Lagos State, Engineer Olukayode Popoola, disclosed to Nigerian NewsDirect that the reconstruction project would commence any moment Air operations are fully back in place.
Stressing that the construction contract has been on since 2018, he disclosed that the road project which has been awarded to Julius Berger suffered set back as a result of paucity of funds. He however disclosed that there has been release of funds for the project to commence any moment possible.
Reacting to the condition to Federal road, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Works, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, who confirmed the development to Nigerian NewsDirect mentioned that it is “good news” the Federal Government is wading in to ameliorate the Federal road.
According to her, the Federal Government has “confirmed the availability of funds in the VOC for the project” to carry out the reconstruction of the expressway which remains a critical route for inter-state economic activities across Lagos and Ogun State.
The Lagos-Abeokuta expressway has most recently become an accident trap to commuters with increasing records of trucks falling daily to worsen gridlocks along the route.
The Kola-Alakuko areas along the route in Lagos has recently been in a very critical condition, while from the border area at Toll-gate down to Owode in Ogun State, the road has been an eyesore that keeps commuters in fear over the sporadic fall of laden trucks.
With the difficulty of State Governments in getting a refund on reconstruction projects on Federal roads, some roads owned by the Federal Government have lately been suffering from neglects. While some State Governments, like Lagos, embark on palliatives on critical Federal roads, there are some other States that shy away.
The Federal Government had in June declared that it will no longer refund State governments for reconstructing Federal roads within their territories.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made the announcement after a virtual Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 3rd of June, mentioned that for State Governments to even reconstruct any Federal road by their (States) own fund, they must get permission of the Federal government and will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in the reconstruction process.
The development trailed the Council’s approval of a refund of N148.1bn spent on Federal roads to five states which includes N18.3bn to Cross River; N7.8bn to Ondo; N2.4bn to Osun; N38bn to Bayelsa and N78.9bn to Rivers.
The Information Minister who stated that over N500bn had earlier been paid to 31 states, had said: “There is a caveat, the Federal Government will pay the states, however, henceforth, if any State takes on Federal government’s road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund. Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the Federal government and it will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
“You’d recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the Federal government, asking for compensation for money that they’ve expended on Federal roads. This prompted Mr President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed and completed in line with the federal government standards.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.”